What About the Doctrine of Eternal Security?
The doctrine of eternal security was first taught by Augustine of Hippo 354-430 AD and was not readily accepted by the church at large; prior to him it is not found in any of the early writings of the church fathers. The next prominent one to teach it was John Calvin 1509-1564 AD.
In my thinking, the doctrine of eternal security is a “me” doctrine and human-centered. It is irrelative to the person who intends to continue with Christ and obey him. One of its roots is the lack of faith in the forgiveness we received by Christ and reflects anxiety over one’s salvation. It is a stumbling block for many because it destroys the tension between sanctification and justification, which is necessary for a balanced Christian walk. By its very nature, it inhibits growth and a striving for maturity and holiness in Christ. By this, I am not inferring that we can make ourselves mature nor earn our salvation by growing, but just like in the natural world where a child is expected to grow up, a believer is expected to grow up in their faith. We must continue to do those things that contribute to our growth. Things like fellowship, prayer, meditation and the reading of scripture. To neglect these is like a man that refuses to eat and yet expects to live.
 Here are some typical quotations from their writings: We ought, therefore, brethren, carefully to inquire concerning our salvation. Otherwise, the wicked one, having made his entrance by deceit, may hurl us forth from our life. Barnabas (c. 70-130).
Those who do not obey Him, being disinherited by Him, have ceased to be His sons. Irenaeus (c. 180).
It is neither the faith, nor the love, nor the hope, nor the endurance of one day; rather, “he that endures to the end will be saved.” Clement of Alexandria (c. 195). God gives forgiveness of past sins. However, as to future sins, each one procures this for himself. He does this by repenting, by condemning the past deeds, and by begging the Father to blot them out. For only the Father is the one who is able to undo what is done. …So even in the case of one who has done the greatest good deeds in his life, but at the end has run headlong into wickedness, all his former pains are profitless to him. For at the climax of the drama, he has given up his part. Clement of Alexandria (c. 195).
The New Atheist and Self-righteousness
There is a generation that is pure in their own eyes and yet is not washed from their filthiness. Proverbs 30:12
The new atheists think that they’re righteous because they have never really made an honest attempt to be righteous. You never know how weak you are until you try to lift something heavy. The new atheist believes that they are righteous because like many in the west they equate righteousness with believing the correct thing. In other words, if you have the right doctrine, you are righteous. They inherited this belief, that right doctrine equals righteousness, from evangelical Christianity which they so vivaciously hate. Like all Pharisees they hate what they are and they detest their own shadow to the point that they deny that they even have one.
One man said of the new atheists that their thinking was “…attitudes masquerading as ideas, emotional commitments disguised as intellectual honesty.” At first these remarks puzzled me and then I realized that the new atheist’s thinking did not have its origin in deep clear thinking and reasoning, but rather in attitudes and the emotions brought about by those attitudes. The attitudes that come to my mind as typical of the new atheist type are rebellion, hubris and self-righteousness, which are very similar attitudes as those involved in the social justice movement. All of these attitudes are commonly found among younger people, especially young educated males.
Like so many young people of today the new atheists seem to be angry, but why are they angry? They are a part of the most spoiled and pampered generation that’s ever been on the face of the earth. The majority of the new atheist types are college graduates that have grown up with comfort, ease and pleasure beyond another generation’s imagination.
What are they angry about? They’re furious that the world, and it’s God, is not to their liking. Yet they are frustrated that they don’t have the power to change it. They only have the power to destroy it, which is the reason they are called ‘deconstructionists’ by many. This deconstructionism can take many forms; it can be seen in the new atheist movement, the feminist movement and the social justice movement. All of these movements have their roots in atheism and in the denial of the divine. All of these movements are nihilistic in the end and create a people without God, without meaning and without any hope in the world. The only meaning they seem to have is found in their deconstructionism and their utopian world view. This can all be seen in the atheistic communist movement that destroyed everything in its path.
Are the new atheists righteous? Well, if there is a God, they are not righteous, they are evil. If there is no God it really doesn’t matter because the word righteousness would be just a word without any real content.
Let me end with one of my favorite quotes by an old type of atheist, an honest unbeliever. Dr. E. Wengraf once confessed, “Every piece of anti-religious propaganda seems to me a crime. I surely do not wish it to be prosecuted as a crime, but I consider it immoral and loathsome. This not because of zeal for my convictions, but because of the simple knowledge, acquired through long experience that, given the same circumstances, a religious man is happier than the irreligious. In my indifference and skeptical attitude toward all positive faith, I have often envied other men to whom deep religiosity has given strong support in all the storms of life. To uproot the souls of such men is an abject deed. I abhor any proselytizing. But still, I can understand why one who believes firmly in a saving faith tries to convert others. But I cannot understand the propaganda of unbelief. We do not have the right to take away from a person his protecting shelter, be it even a shabby hut, if we are not sure we can offer him a better, more beautiful house. But to lure men from the inherited home of their souls, to make them err afterward in the wilderness of hypotheses and philosophical question marks, is either criminal fatalisms or criminal mindlessness.” Are the new atheists righteous? I guess not according to Dr. E. Wengraf.
Is Atheism Rational, An Argument Based On Size
Is atheism rational? The answer is no. It is dogma. You cannot make a rational statement that there is no God in a universe as big as we know ours to be. The size of the universe eliminates certitude in any negative affirmation as to what is not in the universe. In like fashion, I can say that there is a car in the garage but because of the garage size in contrast to the size of a dust mite, I cannot say there are no dust mites in the garage unless I intervene and create an environment where dust mites cannot exist or create an instrument that will aid me in seeing them. The difference between the car and the mites is the size. The size of the garage and the size of the thing I’m looking for matters. The size of the universe does not prove there is a God, but it does eliminate atheism as a rational opinion. The more manly option would be agnosticism, which confesses that it just does not know whether there’s a God or not. I say more manly because it is often uncomfortable for human beings to know and confess their lack of certitude in a belief.
The size of the universe also puts a demand on how one describes the God who created it. If you believe that a being created the universe it would seem logical that the being must be greater than or at least equal to the thing created. This would mean that the human mind could not fathom this being (if it be lawful to call it a being) for we cannot fathom the universe much less the force that created it. One of the great problems in trying to define the deity is that such a deity would be, out of necessity, outside of nature and we humans only know and have natural words and concepts to explain anything. So immediately, our language would fail us in describing such a being. That is why some people when referring to such a being refer to him as the Totally Other or the Uncreated One or as some of the mystic’s “nothingness”.
It would be safe to say that human beings will never be able to say that the infinitely small or the infinitely big cannot exist. It is more rational to say that they exist and yet because of our finiteness, we cannot observe them. In this instance, our faith that such a being exists is based on the overall understanding of the universe and how it is put together, not on specific facts of science.
What is the Israel of God?
“Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God.” Gal 6:16
There has been much debate as to the meaning of the apostle Paul’s expression “the Israel of God” in his letter to the Galatians. Much of the debate has been caused by people holding to various eschatology theories of the nation of Israel and its relationship to the church. However, the apostle gives us a clue as to the meaning in the expression itself. If there is an Israel of God, there must be an Israel that is not of God. Who or what is this false Israel? In the book of Galatians and throughout his writings, the apostle tells us who makes up this wrong Israel. The false Israel is made up of fleshly Israel, including those who believe in Christ yet want to bind the law of Moses on all Christians. In other words, they believe that a person is saved by faith in Christ plus the law of Moses or by becoming a Jew. This group of people are called Judaizers and have been present within the church since its earliest beginning. In the book of Acts, you can read about how they actually followed the apostle Paul around undermining his message of salvation through Christ alone and attempted to convert Paul’s disciple back to Judaism (Christ plus Judaism) bring them back into the bondage of religion.
Let’s look at what Paul and the New Testament says about fleshly or the physical descendants of Abraham who made up the physical nation of Israel in the days of Paul and today. Our first text will be a metaphor given to us by Paul in Galatians Chapter 4:21-30).
“(21) Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? (22) For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. (23) His son by the slave woman was born in an ordinary way, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise.
(24) These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. (25) Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem because she is in slavery with her children. (26) But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. (27) For it is written:
“Be glad, O barren woman,
who bears no children;
break forth and cry aloud,
you who have no labor pains;
because more are the children of the desolate woman
than of her who has a husband.”
(28) Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. (29) At that time the son born in an ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. (30) But what does the Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son” (31). Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman” (Gal 4:21-31).
We can gather from Paul’s words that there are two Israel’s one is spiritual and one is fleshly or physical. Physical Israel is born through natural processes (physical birth) and is based on biology. On the other hand, spiritual Israel is based on a birth brought from above by the spirit of God (John 3:1-5). Paul’s conclusion is stated in verse 30, which is that the slave woman physical Israel will not receive the inheritance of eternal life unless they become spiritual children through faith in Jesus Christ. “It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 8, In other words, it is not the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring (Rom 9:6-8).
Who are the children of the promise? It is clearly stated that they are believers in Jesus and those that have been baptized into Him. “26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal:26-29). We can gather from this that now a new humanity or nation made up of all men who are saved by faith in Jesus. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy (1 Peter 2:9-10). Who is Peter talking to? Is he not talking to the Israel of God?
The citizenship requirement in this new nation is a spiritual birth into it through water and spirit him (John 3:1-5).
For further study, I’d recommend T Austin’s Sparks “The Israel of God.” You can get it free by coping into your browser the link below.
 Phi 3:1-6, Gal 3:1-26